Children's books

Harriet at 50

Even at 50 years old, Harriet can rankle readers. All students of children’s literature (in fact anyone interested in children’s literature) should meet her — even those who first encountered Harriet when they were children. The 1960s were turbulent; change was everywhere — including in books for children. First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy marked a sea change in the direction of juvenile fiction. Some people loved it, others had an equally strong and opposite reaction to the book.

Please Be Charitable for Literacy

As regular readers know, this is the time of the year that I identify charities that try to help improve children's literacy and language and to make books available to kids. Readers of my blog obviously care about whether kids can read and why not make that cause part of your charitable gifting as well.

Each year, I comb through Charity Navigator to identify appropriate literacy-focused charitable agencies. I look for national and internationals groups that are rated as 3- and 4-star charities (that means they are spending at least 80% of the contributions on services). 

7 Ways To Make National Family Literacy Day, Reading More Accessible, More Inclusive

National Family Literacy Day® falls on Nov. 1 2015. This national observance often kicks off a month of family literacy activities in libraries, schools, and community settings. It is a time for educators, librarians and others to celebrate learning differences and many ways to read. Put a spotlight on accessible digital text and alternatives to print. Build a nation of readers. 

Hidden Lives of Wolves: An Interview with Jim and Jamie Dutcher

Jim and Jamie Dutcher

A recent book for young readers and a presentation by the authors for 3rd and 4th grade children reminded me how much damage stereotypes and misinformation can create. In this case, Jim and Jamie Dutcher have spent their professional lives as filmmakers and writers documenting the real lives of wolves in an effort to correct the erroneous and ultimately destructive misconceptions about these magnificent and important creatures.

Happy Birthday KidLit TV! Find "Read Out Loud" Videos by Book Authors, Much More

Kidlit TV is a resource chock full of treasures to help educators and parents explore children's literature. Be sure to add the "Read Out Loud" selection to your teacher or parent toolkit. Find several books read aloud by their authors.

In the video above, author Mike Curato reads Little Elliot, Big City (4:46 min.), a story of how a little guy in a big city solves problems (with help from a friend). This book has engaging illustrations. 

To Lexile or Not to Lexile, That Is the Question

Teacher question:

Our school district is going wild over Lexiles because they are in the Common Core standards. I think they are overdoing it and don’t feel comfortable with some of the decisions that we are making. What are the weaknesses of Lexiles?

First, Lexiles is only one of several readability measures included in the CCSS. They started with that one, but as studies were completed they added ATOS, SourceRater, and several others.

Few Know Their Library Loans Out e-Books: Clues to the Local e-Book Kingdom with a Caution

A vast majority of libraries in the United States have an e-book collection but few patrons know the books are there for loan, according to writer Michael Kozlowski.

Bubble Burst: The Truth About Vanity Cakes

Our little journey last summer brought many of the experiences of the Ingalls family to life for us. From sweeping out a dugout to making a corncob doll, we felt like we had walked in Laura’s shoes. But we hadn’t eaten at her table. While Breece and Avery enjoyed a stick of old fashioned candy at nearly every stop, there was very little authentic pioneer flavor to our food experiences along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Highway.

Never Too Young

September is National Library Card Sign-Up month – rightly so. Schools are open, but the library card sign-up campaign should be a reminder for parents and caregivers of babies and toddlers that it’s never to early for children to visit libraries. Their adults can get books, ideas and maybe gain an idea or two to share with babies and toddlers.

Advocate for Accessible Digital Books During "Read an E-Book Day" Coming Sept. 18

OverDrive, the service that gives library card holders access to free digital books, eBooks and more, invites public participation for Read an eBook Day on Sept. 18. This is an opportunity for teachers, other educators, and parents to advocate for library collections to include eBooks that offer flexible rather than fixed or static digital text. There are different types of digital text and the flexible text is best for most struggling readers 


"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass